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My brand story began 10 years ago when I built an online niche business called WorkCabin that leapfrogged the competition to become the biggest service of its kind in Canada. Today, that expertise is channeled into my other business, WorkCabin Creative, an agency founded in 2010 and based in southwestern ON. I help clients grow trusted brands, build wildly effective communication strategies, & create unforgettable experiences. I can say that with confidence because I've been there and done it with my own startup 10 years ago. And I've helped organizations and businesses do it too. Over and over again through WorkCabin Creative since 2010.
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10 simple marketing ideas your small business can do for Christmas season

10 Christmas marketing ideas for small-town businesses

10 simple marketing ideas your small business can do for Christmas season

I had a small business owner tell me the other day that he would not be doing any festive season marketing because he didn’t have time to pull anything together. WHAT!? I almost fell face first on the floor.

If you don’t take the time to give your business a little oomph during one of the most important retail times of the year, don’t complain if sales are down and fewer shoppers are coming through the door.

There are always easy marketing initiatives that every small retail shop can do during the festive season, even those retailers who say they have no time.

Here are 10 ridiculously simple ideas you can implement today:

1. Reward your social media fans

This is so simple. You have fans on social media. Many of them love what you do. That’s why they follow and Like you. So create a coupon that is exclusive to social media for those fans. All they have to do is bring their phone with them to your store, show you the coupon that you posted, and bingo, they get the deal. And best of all, you can easily count the coupons and track how well this tactic works.

2. Use location-based social advertising

Social media tools have incredible location-based advertising capabilities today. That gives you an advantage to target shoppers who are close by. Take advantage of that! Especially on weekends.

3. Support a local charity by hosting a fundraising drive

Your community has lots of charities. Sure, there are the regular ones that many businesses partner with, but there are also other worthwhile ones that may not get as much attention. Just remember to focus on the cause, not corporate self-serving stuff that screams “Hey, look at what we’re doing, we’re a great business!” Your actions supporting the cause will do the talking for you.

4. Go out into the community and serve a lunch or a breakfast

Choose a worthwhile recipient and bring lunch or desserts and share some joy. Oh, and consider bringing along a musician. Maybe even a little goodie bag. You’ll be contributing to community-building and leaving a place with a whole bunch of smiles after you leave.

5. Hold a contest

There are so many simple ideas here that can help get your fans and audiences involved. You might hold a contest where people post photos of their Christmas tree, baked goods, or elves on shelves. Or you could invite people to pop into your store or restaurant wearing their ugliest Christmas sweater and be entered into a contest. Use your imagination but don’t complicate it.

6. Host an exclusive night for your best customers

The festive season is a great time to host a special evening, outside of regular hours, where your best customers are invited to stop by for a visit and receive a token of your appreciation. Add a cheese tray and some refreshments. And some free giveaways. And some special one-night only prices for these best customers, and voila, you’ve got a fun evening of holiday cheer.

7. Hold a 12 Days of 12 Products sale

You need to attract people to come in to your store. So give them an attractant. One product at an awesome sale price (please, please remember that 10% off is not an attractant!) for each of the 12 days. If you miss the day, you miss that product at that great price.

8. Host Live at Lunch days

Your community has up and coming musicians. Give them a space to play short sets during lunch hours. And just like that you’ve got a mini intimate concert series. And you don’t have to be a food shop to do this idea. It can work in many retail stores with space.

9. Get some branded limited edition holiday products

It is amazing what you can get branded these days. And the days of having to order a minimum 3000 items are gone. That means it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to get a low quantity of branded products that you can use as special limited edition sale items or gifts for spending $50 or more in store. Just make sure it has some value. Giving away a pen with your logo on it, to someone who spends $50 or more is a fail.

10. Create fun-filled holiday videos

Videos are hugely popular today. We all know that. You can use video to show your personable side and leave viewers smiling (and hopefully inspire them to drop by). The big thing with these videos is having fun! Humour and fun generates engagement. Here’s what doesn’t generate engagement: Avoid doing those tired overdone cliche videos where 30 people stand in a line and shout Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, and worse still, the produced video has mistletoe clipart as a frame. Tacky. Those videos were are all the rage in 1980s in on-air ads at low budget independent cable TV stations. What are some ideas? Well, a great videographer can help you easily and affordably do some creative videos that suit your style.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gregg McLachlan is recognized as a leading trainer, marketing rethinker and rural social media strategist in southwestern Ontario who works with small businesses and organizations who want to elevate their branding. He has been a conference and workshop guest speaker for rural downtown business associations, municipal economic development departments and tourism organizations, as well as provincial and national organizations. His newest conference and workshop talk, 2017 Is Sooooo Yesterday, helps organizations understand how social media is evolving and how to stay ahead and be effective. Contact Gregg at gregg@workcabincreative.ca

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